Lock-down Life: Food, Well-being and the Running Bug
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
The Lock-down hit the UK: The Virus finally struck; meaning life as we know it has changed ...
no Gyms…no Pubs…no Nando’s… but no matter... the years of Sunday Brunch and Ready Steady Cook are about to pay off, right? ....
As my workplace initiated homeworking, I made the effort to distance myself from my father, who has underlying health issues. This resulted a move to London to live with my Boyfriend in his flat. For the purposes of this blog, we shall refer to him as M. And pretty much from the first few days, it turns out my cooking skills were not exactly as existent as I thought … American Mexican food and egg fried rice and possibly a very basic tomato sauce with pasta and a watery vegetable soup is as far as it really went in all honesty!
M is an excellent chef, particularly when it comes to Italian food. His understanding of the love of cooking good food and its importance in bringing people together has been such a wonderful thing to experience whilst during lockdown. I feel very lucky indeed! I have really seen the benefits of finding new recipes that are both healthy and convenient without having to resort to delivery at all! You can use minimal ingredients and you don’t need tonnes of sugar!
I often thought that if you surrounded yourself with good people and have faith in yourself, that’s all one would ever need. But from living with someone who LOVES food and stays healthy, I have learnt the benefits of truly enjoying cooking, sharing food and eating well. Together, we have enjoyed treats such as a Camembert bread boat (which yes, was as good as it tasted), homemade hummus and homemade vegan pizza when the cheese just becomes too much!
However, even if my sugar intake has gone down significantly, the amount of good food has still meant that I had to take advantage of Boris’s ‘go out for exercise’ advice and really make use of the open areas of parkland available to me in Kensington if I wanted to truly embrace this healthier me.
The first time I ran around Kensington Gardens… I genuinely thought I might die of a heart or asthma attack… It was not fun… I was so surprised by how unfit I was! I really struggled with a 3km… I didn’t even finish it! I do have weak lungs and exercise induced asthma, which does mean I have the inability to breathe through my nose properly when I do any sort of cardio… but still, I could be WAYYY fitter… (In my head, I was still the gym going swimmer at the start of my Uni years!) But, by going out every other day, I am ever so steadily improving and I am finding it so much easier to complete a 3km or even 5km run every time I go out. I am starting to see some definition in my legs again! So far I have managed to achieve a personal best for my 5km and during my whole time in lockdown I have ran over 100km in total. I even bought new Nike trainers! Since my 8-year-old £8 Primark trainers just weren’t cutting it anymore…
I also started to delve into the world of free home workouts to build up strength. The majority of those I have watched have been provided by the awesome Joe wicks a.k.a The Body Coach, who really emphasises the importance of good healthy food, fitness and their involvement in all-round well-being across his social media platforms.
Most importantly, I feel like I am starting to address the origins of my previous dealings with anxiety and depression and what I can do to finally change things for the better to truly let go of the past. Simple things such as having a shower, cleaning, cooking a tasty risotto or running in the open air have helped to scale down my fears and allowed me to clear my mind and focus on the little daily things I can change to make a bigger impact on my future to achieve my goals. I am starting to enjoy cooking more and working out too! I was not the biggest fan of running before lockdown. At one point I thought it was one of the worst forms of self-torture. It’s funny to see how much my attitude to exercise has changed over these last few months!
I am more self-confident than ever, which I put down to addressing the balance in my diet and for incorporating regular exercise into it. Yes, I still have my down days, which is only natural, but I can now say for certain that these little changes have helped to develop my coping mechanisms rather than always relying on sleep or procrastination as a way of ‘addressing’ (more like avoiding) the issue.
All of us have experienced changes from the Lock-down. I have been separated from my Mum, Dad and my brother, but honestly, I have loved every minute of living with M, yes, we’ve had arguments like any other couple, but I have felt safe, supported and even fitter and healthier than before! And I now have a multitude of new recipes to take home to Mum!
Side note, I really recommend checking out the Happy Place Virtual Festival running from the 12th June to the 12th July. There are so many different talks, workout videos, guided meditation, book promotions, craft tutorials amongst many others, all encouraging mental and physical wellness. Here’s the link for it and also it’s completely free to join: https://www.happyplacefestival.com/